Understanding Your Target Audience in a Digital Marketplace

Aug 9, 2013

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Jake Wixom

The Key to Reaching an Audience

Before you can expect to sell people on your product or service, you must know who your target audience is and what they’re looking for. A good business knows how to make their sales a positive experience for both parties. If you can correctly identify what your audience is looking for and find a way to get it to them, then you will create such a win-win situation.

A few questions to ask before marketing your product:

What do I have to offer?

Why are you special? Why should your customers buy from you, rather than from your competition? Don’t be satisfied with the easy answers like “Because we’re better” or “Because we have a good reputation”. Dig deeper than that. If you sell cell phones, so do thousands of others. Are your phones higher quality? Are they less expensive? Do they come with a bonus feature or accessory? Do you have better customer service or a lifetime guarantee? Are you in a better location or have a nicer facility? Figure out what sets you apart and make that the image of your company.

Who would be interested in purchasing it?

No one can be everything to everybody. Take advantage of trends and cultural interests. If you really understand your audience, you should be able to foresee trends that will give you opportunities for successful business, as have many clothing and vintage companies with the rising “hipster” trend. Figure out who is most likely to be interested in your product and study them. You’ve got to put yourself in their shoes and really understand them. Read on, we’ll go into more detail about this later.

What is preventing them from buying?

If you have what they want and they still don’t have it, something is wrong. Is your product too expensive? Do they know that it exists? Maybe they trust another provider and don’t see any reason to come to you instead. Find out what the barrier is between you and them and then find a way to level it. Make yourself known and make yourself available. Social media has worked wonders for many businesses that needed help breaking down barriers with their target audiences.

What do they need to see, feel or hear in order to recognize that I have what they need?

This is probably the most important, yet least understood step. This might be because the tools used to reach the audience are constantly changing and we sometimes struggle to keep up with these technological advances. Many companies learn who their target audience is and then aim their marketing cannon in the general direction and fire. With the opportunities for connection that social media and technology allow us, there is much more we can do.

Put yourself in their shoes. Think about what kind of feelings might motivate a potential customer to purchase your product. Apple has done an impeccable job of this by understanding their audience so well that they became audience trend-setters. They managed to create a faithful cultural following among the same independently creative consumers that would benefit most from their products and that has made Apple the standard in both consumer-level and professional-level creativity. Their messages of “Yeah, it is cool to be creative” and “With our products and your natural talent, you can do that stuff just as well as the professionals” have resonated with a lot of people. Now you need to find out what will resonate with the people that are most likely to be interested in your product and use the tools available to you to reach them!

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